Marketing Your Music
How to Create a Musician's Press Kit
The main purpose of a press kit is to generate interest in the artist and their music.
- What does a press kit contain?
- Biography, Fact Sheet, or Brochure
- Promotional Photos
- Positive press you and your band has received
- Three song demos of you music
- Contact Information
Limit the amount of background information you provide. Less is more.
- Fact Sheets are exactly what they sound like. Include:
- Artist's Hometown
- Names of members and instruments played
- Album release information
- Touring dates, upcoming shows
- Contact information for Management
- Recording studio and producers involved
You can create brochures with publishing processors. This will give you a cover, an address panel and four inside panels to promote your music. Pictures should be placed on the front along with a unique headline (Fisher). Give your reader a good idea of what your music sounds like. Refer to other musicians you sound like. You need to generate interest, so you can use some humor here. However, you don't want to over do it. Again, less is more (Hamilton).
Make the record label executives understand that you are solid investment. Talk about your strong points and the uniqueness your band brings to the table.
You can add credibility to your name through reputable quotes from the press about you and your band. Strong quotes allow the readers to gain interest because they see that you have already been reviewed. Include the impressive press review clippings.
Include a few pictures. The photos should be 8x10 that shows off distinguishing features of your band. Creativity is a plus, however at least one of the pictures needs to be appropriate for newspapers. Clearly label the photo with names and contact information. Modeling agencies are great referrals for local photographers .You will need to have the pictures taken with a high resolution and put on a CD. Be sure to gain a copyright release before any pictures are taken.
Include a gig sheet that shows recent, current, and future gigs. The gig sheet shows that you are growing in popularity with the community. Upcoming gigs can be included on the gig sheet or in the cover letter.
Most importantly, include your music. Your latest music release should be put on this CD. You have, at the most, about 30 seconds to grab the listener's attention. Do not burn a CD at home. You need to have a high quality CD demo made and labeled. This shows professionalism.
Packaging Your Press Kit
You need to present your press kit with a professional cover letter personalized to person you are sending it to. The cover letter will differ depending on who you send it to, i.e. a newspaper or a record label. Be clear and concise stating exactly what you want from them. The cover letter is also a good place to name drop people you have built relationships with in the music industry.
Present your press kit in a folder. The folders need to have pockets. Avoid folders that have brads to put loose leaf paper in.
To dress up the outside of your folder, you can place your band's sticker neatly on the front. Place your music, biography, and the first page of your press clippings in the left pocket of the folder. Put your news release, photos, and anything additional in the right pocket of the folder.
Organize the package so that items do not get destroyed during shipping.
Unsolicited Press Kits are inevitably thrown away. Do not send press kits to someone you have not spoken with. Networking is key in the music industry.
Follow up with the person you sent the press kit to a few weeks later. This gives you a chance to speak with people and put personality into your press kit. Make the conversation concise. Remember that industry representatives receive tons of press kits and phone calls. Keeping the conversations concise but, personable can be very helpful to your personal press kit.
Creating a Demo CD
Creating a quality CD is essential in the music industry.
If you are on a budget:
- Create a budget with your band
- Research your options when it comes to the type of recording you want to make
- Talk to local musicians that have already created a high quality CD
- Negotiate the price when producing at a studio. Some studios may not be willing to negotiate price but, it never hurts to ask.
Be sure to have everything sound exactly as you want it to before recording. This can save you time, frustration, and of course money.
If you are using studio musicians, leave plenty of time to choose those who compliment your music best and also those who cooperate well together. Again, this is just another time and money saver.
Finding a Manager
A manager is someone that advises and counsels you (and/or your band) in every aspect of your career
- Look for a manager who has worked with other artists and has also had some success.
- Finding a manager who works near music scenes will enable him/her to make connections more easily.
- Finding a manager that has a good reputation is also important since the music industry is based on networking and relationships.
- Music industry print directories are great for finding managers. Get recommendations of managers from club owners to other artists. Word of mouth is a great way to find leads on reputable managers.
- Make contact with potential managers because most won't accept unsolicited press kits. This also gives you a chance to make personal contact and figure out what exactly this manager is looking for.